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Hewlett-Packard revenue hurts stocks

Times-Call staff reports

NEW YORK — Investors held to their pattern of retreating after even a moderate advance, sending stocks sharply lower Wednesday amid ongoing concerns about Iraq. Hewlett-Packard’s report of weaker-than-expected revenue also contributed to the decline, which more than wiped out the previous session’s gain.

The downturn wasn’t surprising as selloffs have been the norm for weeks. Analysts say stocks can’t be expected to move upward until it’s clear whether there will be a war with Iraq and what impact there will be on the U.S. economy.

Disappointing earnings reports contributed to Wednesday’s slippage. H-P was the Dow’s biggest loser, dropping $2.81 to $15.37, having reported revenues late Tuesday that missed forecasts.

Among other losers, Morgan Stanley fell 75 cents to $35.42 after The Wall Street Journal reported the brokerage house could face charges in an initial public offering investigation.

NOAA labs may experience job cuts

BOULDER — As many as 40 employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could lose their jobs because of an estimated $6.7 million cut in the agency’s budget.

The cut, made Feb. 13, eliminated $4.5 million that was earmarked for rent on a building that houses NOAA labs. An additional $2.24 million was cut for a center that forecasts space weather.

The loss of the money could translate into job cuts of up to 40, NOAA officials said.

Ernie Hildner, director of the Space Environment Center, said the budget cuts are complicated because it is the middle of the fiscal year so they have less time to make up the shortage.